Leal da Câmara House Museum
SINTRA COAST WEATHER
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FOUNTAINS OF SINTA

For centuries Sintra has been a focal point for religious and esoteric cults. For the ancients the Sintra mountain is not only associated with the moon and lunar Dieties but with magic springs oozing waters with magical properties. Sintra's quirky microclimate is caused by moist Atlantic winds blowing onto the exposed rock faces of Sintra's mountain and condensing into clouds, one such cloud, affectionately known as the queen's fart, often hovers over the town even on the clearest of days. Compared to the surrounding area Sintra is lush and green. The buildings within the forest if left unattended soon morph into the background as their walls are taken over by moss and lichen. This life giving resource permeates through the mountains ancient porous strata emerging as springs of refreshing mineral rich water.

The abundance of this water ensures each resident has enough not only to drink but harvest crops, refresh livestock and source public baths. This gift from the mountain has been celebrated and honoured for millennia. More recently in monumental landscapes in the gardens of Pena - Valley of Lakes and at Quinta da Regaleira. Kings and Queen have planted many exotic trees and plants here which would be unable to grow elsewhere in Portugal. Here too you will find over 20 public fountains of various sizes, ages and state of preservation. Before modern plumbing these were the source of drinking water for the inhabitants of Sintra, and many people still today use these fountains for such a purpose. However concerns over modern farming methods and pesticides have caused the local town council to err of the side of caution and hang plaques advising visitors not to drink the water.

Fonte Mourisca

Fonte Mourisca

Built in: 1922 | Designed by: José da Fonseca | Location: Volta da Duche

Ironically the most photographed of the fountains is the youngest, yet most lavish and ornate. Fonte Mourisca or the Moorish Fountain was re-located 20 metres closer to the old town centre where it served as the towns people clean drinking water. The most striking feature of the fountain is it's exaggerated arabesque style. Neo-árabe was popular revivalist style during the later years of Romaticism and can best be appreciated at the Palace of Monserrate. Three large horse-shoe arches form the entrance and faced inside and out with fine neo-mudejar azulejos tiles and colourful stucco work. The structure is the creation of the Coimbra born sculptor José da Fonseca whose family assisted Manini in the construction of Quinta da Regaleira. The Moorish Fountain is now recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fonte da Sabuga

Fonte da Sabuga

Built in: 1757 | Location: Rua Mal. Saldanha

The waters which pour from here have been renown for centuries for their medicinal properties and there has been a fountain located since the Middle Ages. The first known mentioned in writings dating from 1406. The present construction however dates from the 18th century to replace the damage caused by the 1755 earthquake. The back wall is capped by a large baroque gable emblazoned with a yellow sun-disk.

Today the waters are as popular as ever and utilised for it's gastrointestinal benefits. In 1946 the 'Águas de Sintra Lda' bottled and sold over 100 thousand litres from the fountain of Sabuga. It is said that anyone who drinks Sabuga's water will remember Sintra forever.


Fonte da Pipa

Fonte da Pipa

Built in: 1787 | Location: Rua da Fonte da Pipa

Ascending the hill away from the old town centre in a street which bares it's name the Fonte da Pipa has been here in one form or another since 1369. The current construction was made on the request of Queen Maria and has four azulejo panels representing mythological figures and the Sintra forest. The water outlet is in the shape of a wine barrel or "Pipa".

Fonte dos Pisões

Fonte dos Pisões

Built in: 1931 | Location: Avenida Almeida Garrett

Located on the road which leads to Quite da Regaleira and the Palace of Monserrate it's bright yellow colour makes it difficult to miss. It has a semi-circular courtyard and a round panel of tiles behind the tap. The overflow tank would have enabled farm animals to drink from here. Today sadly the water source has run dry yet the Fonte dos Pisões remains an interesting monument to the past.


Fonte da Mata Alva

Fonte da Mata Alva

Built in: 1875 | Location: Rua Barbosa do Bocage

Erected by the first viscount of Monserrate, the nearby palace and dedicated to the "Good of the People" as inscribed on a plaque in Latin above the tiled splash-back.

Fonte dos Ladrões

Fonte dos Ladrões

Built in: - | Location: Rua Barbosa do Bocage

Ladrões means thieves and the fountain derives it's name from the highwaymen who used to prey on merchants passing here on their way to Colares. The heraldry emblazoned on the gable belongs to Queen Dona Maria 1.